CAPITOL HILL (AP) - A House committee chairman is accusing the
Veterans Affairs agency of criminal negligence in its handling of
data on suicides among U.S. veterans.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee took up the subject at a
hearing today. Panel chairman Bob Filner discussed internal VA
e-mails about data claiming that 12,000 veterans a year attempt
suicide while under VA treatment.
The chairman also accused VA mental health director Ira Katz of
being less concerned about veterans' health than about how data on
the veterans was interpreted. Katz later called it "unfortunate"
that an e-mail sent out about the suicide data opened with the
phrase "Shh!" He also apologized.
Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake told the panel the data
being discussed in the e-mails had not been released due to
concerns about its accuracy.
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